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Nuke Yuler

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About Nuke Yuler

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  1. I was perusing CA for information on the Jitterbug and crossed this thread. I thought... "Wow what an @ss." Then I spent a bunch of time reading the threads about the Regen. Heck, I wouldn't even bother trying a Jitterbug, just go straight to a Regen. Honestly, I have to give you credit for getting me to notice the Regen, so pat yourself on the back for me. Thanks!
  2. I'm surprised nobody has yet had anything to say about this post. The Valab NOS DAC has worked its way through a number of revisions and it's a very good budget DAC. It's based on TeraDak's design using 8 stacked TDA1543 DAC chips which are nearly 20 year old tech, the sum of which produce an output signal sans output stage. The design has unique benefits. It's been considered a modder's DAC with the potential of getting much better with a series of relatively easy to advanced mods. When it's decked out it can honestly perform like a high end DAC. In recent months people who have been interested in the Valab's modding potential have been spending time with the designer's latest product called the TeraDak Chameleon which is deliberately made for modders, doubles the number of TDA1543 chips to 16, and has proven to have better sonic potential than the Valab designs. http://www.teradak.com/ All that said, I have no experience with the V-DAC but users rave about it and considering your need I'll suggest it may better suit you. Most USB DACs with adaptive USB will greatly benefit from a M2Tech HiFace async USB adapter running into an SPDIF input. Honestly, everything I've said here is subject for opening a big can of worms I really have no desire to dig into. This forum has its uses but I lost a taste for its direction some time ago and this is the first I've gone out of the way to post in a while. I was surprised to see your post go for days without a response, thought it was a valid question.
  3. Holy cow... Erin, which one is you in the shoot-out thread at HeadFi? This is kinda funny... Did you know Kevin at Valab has a link to the HeadFi shootout on the TeraLink auction page? These converter boxes we've been discussing are for SPDIF or USB sources. The TeraLink is strictly USB-in. Not sure that's understood here. I'm not really familiar with the Duet but I can't imagine plugging one of these boxes into it. Taking that into consideration, the only option for the North Star DAC is to wire I2S from inside the Duet to the RJ-45 on the North Star. Ignoring that for a minute.... The way I understand it is that I wanted to use the Pop Pulse converter I'd have to have a specific cable made for it in order to match the I2S input on my North Star DAC. Is that correct? The other options would be the TeraDak-X or the rather expensive Empirical Audio Offramp converter. I don't think it's that simple. The North Star's I2S pinout is more complicated. I'm not technically proficient to get into the details. Wish I were. Seems the way to use the Pop Pulse would be to supply it via SPDIF from the Duet and then out to the North Star by custom cable terminated by correct pinout RJ-45, if that's even possible. Doing it that way completely defeats the purpose of using I2S in the first place. I compared the I2S pinout on the TeraLink to the Pop Pulse and they appear to be a little different too. The Off Ramp can probably be considered a high end device, possibly a reference device considering how it works, but it will definitely plug straight into your North Star. I love the heck out of my Off Ramp. It plays an essential part in my system that allows the rest of the components to meet their potential. It would very likely do the same for your North Star. (You have to plug it into a computer.) Come to think of it, some time ago Steve Nugent told me (in a discussion about wiring my Valab for I2S from the Off Ramp) that the mod would be easy but he didn't have time for it and recommended Cullen Circuits. Getting this sort of thing done is possible. It depends on how much you want to spend to have it done if you can't do it yourself. - Rand
  4. North Star I2S and the Pop Pulse box: The North Star apparently uses a different pinout on the RJ-45 connector than the Pop Pulse converter. Read this short thread. North Star uses a configuration that's been adopted by a number of audiophile hardware makers (including Empirical Audio) but there's no standard. There are a few cable manufacturers that make RJ-45 I2S cables. The ones I've seen are expensive boutique cables. Given the I2S spec, what Erin says about cable lengths makes very good sense. Shorter = better. I've followed several Valab/TeraDak forums and I've never seen mention that Pop Pulse has an affiliation with TeraDak. There's quite a bit between Valab and TeraDak that would suggest that anything TeraDak would make for another vendor would probably be sold as TeraDak and possibly Valab products too. The Valab DAC again: On what others have said about the Valab DAC in this thread, I respectfully and completely disagree. I've made a number of the relatively inexpensive mods discussed in the HeadFi Valab forums and my Valab has progressively blossomed into an excellent yet inexpensive DAC. Michael at TeraDak is about to start selling another version of the design called 'Chameleon' that's apparently designed specifically for modding (given the huge popularity of modding potential on the design). I'll mention one more time that the first time the Valab was mentioned here at CA was by Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio and he gave it HUGE props when installing a relatively simple output cap mod. The TeraDak TeraLink X: There is a new device on the market that's been mentioned here in the CA forums a couple of times called the M2Tech Hiface. M2Tech is in Italy. It's an async USB to SPDIF bridge with a proprietary driver that remains in development. Currently supporting kernel streaming and Directsound under Windows (including 7 x86 and x64) with Mac implementation coming. The bridge uses a couple of internal clocks that allow the Hiface to play up to 24/192. RCA or BNC options. There's been quite a bit of discussion about it in hifi forums although it's still not much discussed here at CA. (Google it.) Keep in mind that kernel streaming (from players that utilize kernel streaming) is currently the best option according to talk in the audio forums. $150 USD and available "mid-November" in the US at Tweek Geek under portable computer-audio. - Rand
  5. Besides wasn't Gordon's response a reply to a number of inquiries regarding the quality of the clock? Gordon's comment was on topic about the Teralink-X and its USB chip. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic, Valab/Teradac NOS DAC and the Teralink use the same C-Media USB receiver chip that Gordon said exhibited very high jitter in his tests. He's not the only pro tester with poor results on that chip and I had my own bad experience with it in the DacMagic. The Teralink-X has one of those inexpensive clocks behind the C-Media receiver. It's probably a decent interface for 45 USD but I still haven't seen test data validating the cheap clocks. Since my June 26th comment on the DacMagic vs the Valab, I've had the Valab running almost constantly (with several newer mods including the SPDIF channel mod I mentioned). Fed by an Off Ramp through a silver coax SPDIF cable. I still haven't bothered trying the Valab's USB input. I have no interest in spending time sampling audio through that receiver and one of the cheap clocks when I know I have greatly reduced jitter from the Off Ramp's Superclock and a clear path to the Valab's DAC chips. - Rand
  6. The whacked thing about that often discussed and very real element is it's likely someone use to a somewhat jitter prone system doesn't know what a significant reduction of it will do for improving audio quality. I was pretty sure my system was lacking due to the presence of jitter. I added a very high quality reclocker and the difference was very evident. Clarity, focus, and stereo projection greatly improved. Discussing it here at CA can help someone planning a system to begin with equipment designed for very low jitter. Gordon can talk about jitter and there are many people here that will pay careful attention. He's an authority and his observations are usually greatly appreciated. - Rand
  7. BBC Music Business Video (Hilarious)

    Contemporary pop music is CRAP! Honestly, words can't describe my intense hatred for most modern pop. But it makes money for somebody and free enterprise is still a good thing. - Rand
  8. Excellent new item found

    This box provides filtered galvanic isolation to coax SPDIF. There's a bit to read around the net about audio improvements a properly applied, inexpensive digital galvanic isolation transformer (GIT) on coax SPDIF can produce. It provides electrical isolation similar to TOSLINK without the optical conversions. Positive subjective testimonies from modders validates the idea even if it's just because it's an easy and inexpensive mod (less than $10 USD). If there are no limits to higher resolution digital and the pass-through is similar to normal coax SPDIF, it seems very likely there is some benefit to the application. The improvements they describe are very similar to the improvements of reducing jitter. Better focus, stereo projection, etc. I interpret that to mean there is electrical garbage beside the digital signal that normally passes in coax SPDIF that causes jitter in the SPDIF circuit in some DACs. Makes sense that when given a choice, some people prefer TOSLINK to coax SPDIF. The product in this thread is rated for 24/192 and home theater. It's very possible it will make a difference in some systems. A difference may be more apparent in higher resolving systems. It comes with a 2 week trial/return. I intend to install a Newava S22160 GIT in my Valab DAC. It's a very simple, cheap mod. EDIT: The manufacturer of the ModMaxx product told me they use a GIT made by Scientific Conversion Inc in California. They are very proud of their digital transformers. Modmaxx uses very high quality components throughout the device. - Rand
  9. New Valab NOS DAC 'Luxury' version

    Those specs sound right to me. It's really not noisy. I have a decent high res system and noise hasn't been a problem. I've modded my Valab with nice output caps and I intend a couple more small changes but I'm not one of the regular contributors at Head Fi doing everything imaginable to improve it. Those guys are knowledgeable tweakers and very capable with a soldering iron. Some people consider the Valab to be a novelty because of its simplicity in design and nearly disposable at the relatively low cost. It's a non-oversampling, unfiltered 16 bit DAC with no output stage. It achieves sufficient output by paralleling eight 20-year old technology DAC chips. And yeah, it has no filters, so you can be guaranteed all that high frequency stuff is there and something some people would definitely want to avoid, but folks with nicer equipment would probably want a cleaner, more capable DAC anyway. The Head Fi Valab forums cover several production revisions of the DAC and one of the regular contributors discusses mods with Steve Nugent. There's very little fumbling with the modifications. It's very good in stock form and much improved with progressive modifying, some are relatively simple by anyone with half decent soldering skills. Consensus is it requires at least 200 hours of burn-in to open up properly. All versions of the Valab have a reclock circuit on the USB channel that's of similar value (expense) to the DAC, which is to say it's no big deal. Later versions have a second reclock circuit at the DAC chips. I went into it intending to avoid the USB input and I'm glad I have a version without the second clock because I have a sure low jitter source by SPDIF. Understanding that SPDIF has its own jitter issue, my experience is the SPDIF channel here can perform very well. It's possible the second clock will degrade an already low jitter source, although it will undoubtedly improve a higher jitter source. Both USB and SPDIF channels go through the second clock. (USB goes through both clocks.) There is no test data for reclocking effect or jitter for any of the DAC versions. I got a March 09 Valab intending to feed it by coax SPDIF a 16/44.1 source, software upsampled to 48kHz (Secret Rabbit, Foobar, cPlay) and reclocked by an Empirical Audio Off Ramp (converted to 24 bit). I thought it would be fun to see what it could do with a few of the basic mods. It's been good enough to use in my rig almost all the time. - Rand
  10. Valab (Vintage Audio Lab, Taiwan) has just started selling the (Teradak) version 3 with a better power supply for $260 USD delivered. Calling it the "Luxury' version. They're still selling the latest update of version 2 for $200 delivered. Both are available only through eBay. If you're new to the Valab NOS DAC saga and interested, search the CA forums for past mentions and the Head Fi org Valab Forums for excellent in-depth information. They're relatively inexpensive and a rich sounding excellent value in stock form with huge DIY modification potential. They aren't particularly difficult to work on if you know the basics of soldering electronics. There are some advantages and disadvantages to the design depending on your perspective and needs, but the new version 3 should be by far the best design for anyone not interested in modifying it. LINK This link should be good while the unit is in stock (and later restocked). Current stock may be short because it's a brand new item. - Rand .
  11. RF / EMI Interference, etc...

    All add to this questioning the value of Voodoo RF/EMI audiophile equipment such as Shakti Stones and ERS RFI sheets, etc. Anyone have experiences to offer? Educated perspectives, raised eyebrows, looking straight down your noses, all is appreciated. - Rand
  12. Best sub-$400 DAC for Mac

    @Nuke Yuler Fascinating stuff. Forgive my ignorance but what was the function of the Monarchy DIP mk2 in the second step rig? Monarchy Audio sells a couple current DIP models. A simple Google search will bring the information right to you. The DIP mk2 was introduced in 2000 and sold for a couple years before the next model was introduced. Prices have remained fairly consistent around $300+ USD. (I got mine used on eBay a few years ago.) The Monarchy DIPs are SPDIF reclockers-upsamplers-signal reconditioners. The original idea was to place the DIP between a CD transport and an external DAC. The DIP mk2 model I have does not upsample. The benefits I heard are from its reclocker and signal reconditioning abilities. It works well for its price point, but it doesn't perform half as well as the Empirical Off Ramp with the Superclock option at over 3 times the Monarchy DIP's cost. - Rand
  13. Best sub-$400 DAC for Mac

    I have (had) a DacMagic in a frugal but truly high resolution system. Considering again what I discovered before John Atkinson published his measurements and Gordon Rankin stated in an unrelated thread about the same CM108 USB receiver chip in the DacMagic... The DacMagic's USB is not a critically proper input. Its CM108 USB chip produces high jitter and the USB channel measures badly against the SPDIF channels which produce superb measurements. My experience is there is a huge difference between the USB and coax SPDIF channels. The coax SPDIF can produce much better quality sound with characteristics typical of critically low jitter (clarity, focus, stereo spatial projection, etc). I first fed the DacMagic with a Locus Cryoparts USB cable and then a Ridge Street Poiema USB cable in typical computer to DAC connections. The DacMagic produced a clean, clear, but flat and undefined sound typical of adaptive USB with too much unresolved jitter. I then fed the DacMagic by coax SPDIF from an M-Audio 2496 PCI card. This was significantly better sounding typical of lower jitter. Next I placed an older model Monarchy DIP mk2 between the M-Audio card and the DacMagic coax SPDIF input. The sound quality was again noticeably better. I went back to USB using an Empirical Audio Off Ramp 3 with an Audiocom Superclock 4 module. Server >Ridge Street Poiema >Off Ramp >Audioquest VDM-5 coax cable >DacMagic. This setup allowed the system to project well into the room with definition, focus, and spatial characteristics far better than any setup before it. I'm repeating myself in this post but I do so to make this point: It's very important to remember there is a synergy between components that folks achieve with differing results. One person's subjective testimonials with relative, progressive experiences can often tell us what hardware changes can produce and what certain pieces are capable of giving. My current setup solved jitter issues but If had it to do over I would probably start with a Wavelength DAC and avoid the adaptive USB problems in the first place. Like Gordon says, why fix jitter? On the other hand if you need to fix jitter the Empirical Audio reclockers actually, truly give you what you pay for. This again raises a question: If the DacMagic SPDIF channels produce measurably superb low jitter characterisitcs, why did it perform so much better with a very high quality reclocker feeding it? This makes me wonder what an Off Ramp can do for better DACs. - Rand
  14. Cmp and Cplay

    Information and download links for both programs at the author's homepage. link - Rand
  15. I can speak for experience with an Off Ramp 3 with a Superclock module. It's a very good example of getting what you pay for. I consider it to be the reference part against the rest of these USB converters. I first used it with a Cambridge DacMagic and one of its very well (Stereophile) measured SPDIF channels. The combination projects an amazing, well focused 3D sound field. Right now I have it connected to a cap modded Valab (March 09 version minus the new second clock) well past the 200 hour mandated burn-in. It sounds nice but the synergy isn't happening like with the DacMagic, at least not yet. There's another small mod to try in the SPDIF channel that should reduce inherent jitter but I suspect the implentation isn't of similar quality to the DacMagic. BTW, the Valab and DacMagic both use the same USB receiver but they aren't implemented the same. I never even tried the USB input on the Valab because I assumed the Off Ramp into SPDIF on the Valab was going to be much superior. I expected the Valab DAC to replace the DacMagic for Red Book and similar content but it's yet to prove itself. So far I consider the DacMagic to be more of a giant killer than the Valab. - Rand